Education and Research in Western Balkan Region: An assessment of countries’ experiences and their performance in EU funded programmes (Case study: Albania, Kosovo and Serbia)

This regional study is a product of “Creating synergy in Western Balkans for strengthening education, research and science” project supported by Western Balkan Fund (WBF) , implemented by European Movement Albania(EMA) in partnership with Balkans Policy Research Group (BPRG) and European Movement Novi Sad, Serbia. It presents a general overview of education and research feld by presenting the current situation in all Western Balkan Region through a comparative approach, trying to access previous experience of the last decade and current performance of the countries, obstacles and results of respective countries engaged in EU programs dedicated to research like Horizon 2020, MSCA, Erasmus + (Jean Monnet, KA1, KA2) and COST. On one hand, this research identifes and provides a comprehensive map of all state structures, adopted national strategies, programmes, national legislation and budget tackling the areas of research and education. It gives a clear view of current situation in all Western Balkan regions in general, focusing on Albania and Kosovo, including Serbia is as a positive experience. On the other hand, the study comes as a necessity to evaluate and analyse the results achieved so far in the absorption of EU funds dedicated to scientifc research, education, technology and innovation in the Balkan Region. Over the years, there have been different levels of fund’s absorption by the countries of the Western Balkans, which is a phenomenon that requires an in-depth analysis in order to understand these differences. The research scrutinises the shortcomings and hindering factors leading to a modest participation of Western Balkan countries as partners or leaders in the projects. The challenges of Western Balkan Countries towards developing the quality of human and infrastructural capacities in the feld of science, technology development and innovation are evident despite the constant efforts that have been done in this respect. In general, the countries of the region have given a modest financial support from their national budgets. This investment was 0.87% of GDP or 866,5 Million USD PPPs (2017) for Serbia, followed by FYROM and Montenegro. Public investment in research and innovation in BiH and Albania are very low, while Kosovo* has extremely low values (0.1%). In addition due to its special political status Kosovo, does not have the same membership status in EU programs as well, as the rest of the Balkan countries. This contributes to disadvantages and to unequal conditions either of competitiveness or to performance in general for researchers from Kosovo. Besides scientifc-research activity in WB countries is based on the need for wider inclusion into the European Research Area (ERA), Framework Programs of the European Union (Horizon 2020), on the introduction of international quality measures, as well as the increased investment into scientifc-research activity. As it is stated in Joint Science Conference (Austria 2016) “Science, research and higher education are a driving force for innovation and economic development and contribute decisively to the emergence of an open society when this activity respects the basic principles of academic excellence and self-governance”.

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Country(ies) relevant for your entry

Albania,  Kosovo,  Serbia




Regional Study